Steppe 1.1b: culture vultures descend
Part 2 of 2
Previously on the Steppe:
By 3300 BC, the wagon-bound lifestyle of the Yamnaya extended from the edge of Europe to the mountains of Mongolia. In Mongolia, the Yamnaya lifestyle was perfectly suited to the pastures of the Altai. Their herds, their wagons and their weapons suited their new territory. It was far different in the west, in a Europe of thick forests, rolling fields of wheat and declining but venerable civilizations. There were centuries of interaction between the Yamnaya and the farmers of the west before the steppe nomads rapidly expanded after 3000 BC. How was it that these wagon-bound nomads conquered a continent in a matter of a few generations?
The Neolithic farmers had brought with them a cultural toolkit assembled in Anatolia and the Levant: wheat, pulses, cattle, sheep, goats and even dogs. Moving northward, the climate changed, becoming less suitable for their crops, so they concentrated themselves in fertile pockets and river valleys. Eventually, they pushed into southern Scandinavia and the British Isles, cold, damp lands where they clung to the margins of existence. Nevertheless, even on these less hospitable frontiers, they persisted for thousands of years.